Genesis 28:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 28:9, NIV: "so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had."

Genesis 28:9, ESV: "Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth."

Genesis 28:9, KJV: "Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife."

Genesis 28:9, NASB: "and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth."

Genesis 28:9, NLT: "So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael's family and married one of Ishmael's daughters, in addition to the wives he already had. His new wife's name was Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son."

Genesis 28:9, CSB: "so Esau went to Ishmael and married, in addition to his other wives, Mahalath daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son. She was the sister of Nebaioth."

What does Genesis 28:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This concludes the thought begun the previous verse. Esau seems to have become newly aware that his marriage to two Canaanite wives displeased Isaac. Either Isaac had never communicated this to Esau before or after he married the Hittite women, or Esau had rebelled against his parents' wishes in marrying women from a tribe in the land of Canaan.

Now Esau takes action to try to repair the damage and perhaps earn back his father's approval. He marries a third wife. This one, however, is not from one of the tribes of Canaan. She is also not from Rebekah's family in Mesopotamia. Instead, Esau marries the daughter of one of Abraham's other sons, Ishmael. Her name is Mahalath. It's likely Ishmael was dead by this time. So in saying Esau was "going to Ishmael," this passage likely means he went to the people of Ishmael. Some relationship between Ishmael's offspring and Isaac's family apparently still existed. It was now made official by this wedding.

We're not told if Esau's new marriage pleased Isaac or Rebekah, but it did not change his standing in the family. Esau still bore Isaac's near-curse. He was still not chosen to carry on the covenant promises of Abraham. In addition, the woman he married was from the daughter of another son not chosen to carry those covenant promises.